The Oscars aren't until Feb. 22, and the nominations won't be announced until Jan. 22, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is steadfastly whittling away the contenders. Shortlists were announced Tuesday for the Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects categories, helping us narrow down which films will eventually be nominated.

For visual effects, the three nominees will be drawn from these seven choices: Journey to the Center of the Earth, Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Iron Man, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Notably absent, at least in my estimation, are Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Raiders and Temple of Doom both won this category), Cloverfield, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Because seriously: Australia?

Next Thursday, members of the Academy's visual effects branch will gather at L.A.'s Goldwyn Theater to watch 15-minute highlight reels from each of the films, then vote to select the three nominees. As Variety reports, this is already causing headaches because Journey requires 3D projection and The Dark Knight has IMAX scenes, and the theater isn't equipped for either. Maybe the filmmakers should have thought of that before they got all "innovative" and "different"!

(The reason they only show 15-minute highlights is that they can't expect every voter to have seen all seven contenders in their entirety, especially since the visual effects candidates are often really bad. Remember, it's because of this category that one must properly refer to Hollow Man as "the Oscar-nominated Hollow Man.")
categories Oscars, Awards, Cinematical